Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Boy I Left Behind

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.

Nelson Mandela
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I used to know a woman in her 30's who was unmarried with three older brothers and a father who was a great influence in her life. One of the things her father required of her was to keep a journal recording her life. She began it as a child and thus she had stacks of notebooks with jottings of her experiences, an autobiography of personal and very subjective bits and pieces. I don't think she ever went back to read anything she had written and I know her father didn't. I don't know what the point was except to record a life: what was, what used to be, what could have been, what is no more. I wonder what she would think of herself if she did revisit some of those writings.

I was born into a middle class family living in a New York suburb. Four years later my father died. There was then no income and hence no money. Two years later mother sold the house and we moved. After that we slowly drifted into a state of poverty. We had to keep moving, 25 times until I finally left home, 6 times one year.

I've had an occasion to go back to that town and look at some of the places we lived. I tried to remember and visualize what I was like growing up, as a youngster and a teenager, and seeing how much I have changed. When I had a chance to see the first big house, the one I was born into, with all its property, the back yard I used to play in, my early life seems completely remote from me. The child I was still lives in that house. I don't.

I went to visit some folks I knew at the college theatre where I had worked and learned. At one point they all wanted to go out to lunch but I was expecting someone to meet me there so I stayed by myself and was remembering some of the shows I had done.

I answered the phone. It was a new professor who didn't know me. I explained who I was to his satisfaction, I thought. But shortly after that the campus police showed up and threw me out. I had put up scenery, hung and focused lights, helped to build and repair that theatre, acted and directed many productions. But from that day on I was a stranger, not welcome any more. I never went back to that place.

I have relinquished many things in my life, some because I was forced to and some because I wanted to. We change, we grow. The great lesson is that we have to let go of who we used to be if we want to keep changing, to keep growing. That's alright with me.

DB - The Vagabond
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WINTER QUESTION
(This is not a contest)

What was the most significant event that happened in 2010?

dbdacoba@aol.com

Only 2 responses so far

I await your answer.
DB
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DB - The Vagabond

2 comments:

pacifica62 said...

There must be some truth to the saying "you can never go home again". Never the same as you remember it...... or is it? I am the one who has changed so I can never see it in quite the same way. After a while, it loses its' appeal and "home" becomes wherever I am living at the moment. We cannot live in the past, we must appreciate it, put it to rest and move on with our life. I think that's alright for me too.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

The key is to know where you heart is, because that will always be home.